Peep if You Heart Chickens!

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, which makes me think of love, which, of course, makes me think of chickens (right after I think of the CE, of course).

Many of you know that we are in wait mode for some new additions to the flock. ETA for our four new babies is mid-June, and here is a preview of the breeds we’ve ordered:

SILKIE
Dr. Seuss must have played a part in coming up with this breed. They are the teddy bears of the chicken world, known for their docile temperament and excellent mothering abilities.

A Silkie mother and chick from http://www.feathersite.com

The first known account of a Silkie sighting came from Marco Polo, who spoke of seeing chickens with fur-like plumage during his travels to Asia in the 13th century. Silkies have five toes – one more than other chicken breeds, and are known for their blue-black colored skin and bones.

Silkie chicken meat is considered a delicacy in parts of Asia (photo from thekitchn.com)

Silkies come in a number of colors but I decided on traditional white for my first Silkie chick. Silkies in North America are bantam-sized, so she will be just a little girl.

A Silkie chick (from backyardchickens.com)

MILLE FLEUR D’UCCLE

A true bantam, in that there is no standard-sized equivalent for the breed, the Belgian Mille Fleur D’Uccle is one of the prettiest of chickens. Mille fleur, which translates to “a thousand flowers”, refers to the spangly feather pattern that makes these friendly birds so irresistible.

A Mille Fleur D'Uccle rooster (photo from mypetchicken.com)

These little feather-footed beauties were first bred outside of Brussels in the late 19th century. They lay a small white egg.

Mille Fleur D'Uccle chicks (photo from mypetchicken.com) A Mille Fleur hen (photo from studiocentaur.com)

BLACK COPPER MARANS

These birds originated in the western France town of Marans in the early 20th century and are prized for their dark brown eggs.

Marans eggs (photo from ultimatefowl.com)

The eggs of hatchery stock, which I will be getting, are not known to be as dark as those from breeder stock fowl. But of all the Marans breeds, the Black Coppers are known to lay the darkest eggs. Every account of the Marans breed is accompanied by the factoid that theirs are the eggs preferred byJames Bond.

A Black Copper cockerel from Bev Davis, a foremost breeder of Marans in the US

A Black Copper Marans chick (from poultrykeeper.com)

The  pigment of a Marans egg is deposited just before laying via  mucus glands within the last 10 centimeters of the hen’s oviduct.  Thus, unlike the coloring of other chicken eggs, the pigment can actually be removed through vigorous scrubbing – not that anyone would choose to do so. The Black Copper Marans temperament is described as “stately and gentle”.

A Black Copper Marans hen and her chicks (photo from backyardchickens.com)

SPECKLED SUSSEX

The forebears of the Sussex chicken reach back into history to the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43. Speckled Sussex are favorites among chickenkeepers for their docile and curious temperament.

A Speckled Sussex hen (photo from S&S Poultry)

Their speckles are known to increase with successive molts, so these birds just get prettier with age. They are good layers of tinted or light brown eggs.

A Speckled Sussex chick (photo from mypetchicken.com)

Our baby chicks will come from Mypetchicken.com, (www.mypetchicken.com) which is a boon to backyard flock keepers. They have partnered with a hatchery (I’m not sure which one) to offer sexed standard size and bantam chicks, and will ship small orders, unlike most hatcheries, which will ship no fewer than twenty-five birds at a time. While hatching, baby chicks ingest their yolk sac, which keeps them nourished for up to 72 hours, allowing time for them to be priority shipped through the US mail to their new homes.

Here is a video of baby chicks being hatched:

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

About polloplayer

Empty nester searching for meaning of life through the occasional chicken epiphany.
This entry was posted in All Things Poultry, Chicken Facts and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Peep if You Heart Chickens!

  1. Jean Gutsche says:

    ADORABLE BABY CHICKS!!!! What lucky little newborns heading to chicken paradise in June! I had no idea there were so many interesting types of chickens!

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  3. Katherine says:

    What a fabulous assortment of chickens you shall have.

    And you will be ushering in a new adage: birds of different feathers can flock together.

  4. CE says:

    Those new chicks are most attractive. They will most surely brighen up the chickenyard. It will be fun to welcome them into the flock.

  5. pollo amigo says:

    Gorgeous. Look forward to meeting the new gals!

  6. Ang says:

    could have done w out that silkie meat photo…
    but nonetheless, excited for your new girlies!!!!

  7. Pingback: In Pictures | In Pictures | Daytona Reptile Breeder Show

  8. Gavin ryan says:

    i have loads a bantams and silkies there lovely chicks.

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